Recommended Reading for Gifties
Last Update: September 18, 2010
%%November 28, 1999
Recently, I've encountered a number of things I wish I'd been
exposed to much younger. It occurred to me that it would be worthwhile
to think a bit about what books and ideas would be particularly
beneficial to young (particularly ``giftied'') people. So, I'm
starting this reading list. It is, no doubt, incomplete. I'll
add things as I think of them. Reccommendations welcomed.
- Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card.
(whole series is good: Ender's Shadow, Speaker for the Dead,
Xenocide, Children of the Mind [Childern is certainly
the weakest, you might say he stretched a bit far with that one])
-- a must read for gifited students. I really wish I had read
this in 8th grade.
- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein.
(I'd recommend quite a bit of Heinlein, but, unfortunately, much of
it isn't written for children; this one doesn't have the
``sex at every corner'' problem of some of his later books.
Time Enough for Love has some important philosophical ideas
(I especially like the Notebooks of Lazarus Long contained
therein), but I couldn't, in good faith, recommend this to
junior-high or high-school students).
- Flatland, Edwin Abbot.
...actually, I did read this one as a child.
- Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland (Mr. Tompkins in Paperback is probably the thing to find in print these days), George Gamow.
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand.
(yes, there's a long philosophical speech which weighs down the end
of the book, but there's stuff in here that really speaks to the
challenges which gifted students faces in the world)
- The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand.
- ``Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!'', Richard Feynman.
Feyman does an excellent job of showing how much fun you can have
as a thinking person. Also consider What do you care what other
people think? and The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.
The Pleasure is probably a good book to hook some students
into interesting problems in science and engineering.
- ? Hackers, Steve Levy.
(maybe this is a period piece, but I found it inspirational in 1985.)
- Anathem, Neal Stephenson
- Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
- Little Brother, Cory Doctorow.